Pittsburgh Harassment and Stalking Attorneys
No one wants to be the victim of harassment and stalking, but there are individuals who partake in these behaviors, sometimes without even realizing it. Unfortunately, when these individuals are caught, they can face serious consequences for their actions. Ignorance of the laws isn’t a good enough reason to get out of these charges, which is why it’s critical to make sure you fully understand the Pennsylvania laws regarding these matters to help you avoid breaking the law and the penalties that go with it.
Sometimes people can claim harassment when it doesn’t fall under the definition as detailed in Pennsylvania state laws. First and foremost, to qualify for harassment under the law, there must be intent to harass, annoy or alarm another individual. In addition, to the intent, individuals must take part in one of more of the following activities to be charged with harassment:
- Strike, push, kick or otherwise make contact with the other individual or threaten to do so.
- Follow the victim in public places.
- Repeatedly committing the same act for no apparent purpose.
- Communicate in a lewd, lascivious, obscene or threatening manner.
- Communicate anonymously on a repetitive basis.
- Communicate repeatedly at inappropriate hours.
- Repeatedly in any other manner not previously specified.
When these actions are combined with the intent to harass or otherwise harm, the individual becomes guilty of practicing in harassment and may face charges in a Pennsylvania court. The state also has specific laws that relate to cyber harassment of children to add an extra layer of protection for young people.
While stalking can be a form of harassment, it’s important to understand the differences between the two so you can be clear on the reasons why one may be used over the other. Under the same Pennsylvania law statutes, stalking is defined as repeatedly engaging in a course of action toward another person, which can include following them in public with the intention of causing fear or bodily harm. Any other behavior that is designed to cause the same negative feelings in the individual who is stalked can also qualify under these laws. The location of the crime can either be defined as the place where the communications took place or where they were received by the victim. Because of the complexities of these cases, one jurisdiction can use information from another to prove a case and convict an individual of stalking.
One of the biggest problems with harassment and stalking issues is false reports. Some individuals want someone out of their lives so they attempt to charge them with harassment and stalking to stop them from contacting them further. Due to this problem, Pennsylvania state law also addresses these false reports to discourage them. Anyone who knowingly gives false information about an individual with the intent of charging them with harassment or stalking will be charged with making a false report and face penalties as a result.
No one deserves to be made to feel unsafe by someone around them. If you’re charged with harassment or stalking, it’s important to take these charges seriously and get the help of our experienced attorneys to provide the guidance you need. Our professionals will look at your case and help you determine the best way to approach the case for the best results. Contact us today with your questions. We provide free legal consultations.